Labor defense leader: “I want to make and buy British” tech and weapon systems

Shadow defence minister, Jim Murphy, will address an audience of American defence industrialists in Washington

From Richard Norton-Taylor, the Guardian:  Britain must adopt a new, pragmatic approach to the "special relationship" with the US that is based neither on ideology nor nostalgia, the shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, will tell Americans in a speech in Washington. . . .

"In the new security landscape we must assess where and when the UK-US partnership adds value. It is neither a prerequisite nor a luxury," he will warn. "We have vital and historic links which foster an undoubted and important solidarity. Neither ideology nor nostalgia, however, will ensure we benefit from our close links in today’s world, and so pragmatism should define our approach."

Murphy will tell an audience of American defence industrialists on Wednesday: "Our publics are wary and weary. The US is experiencing international reticence … At the same time the financial crisis has strengthened protectionist instincts, and so while multilateralist internationalism is more necessary than ever our scope to pool power is limited by sceptical domestic populations."

Murphy is conducting a review of Labour’s defence policy, including the procurement of equipment and weapons. The government’s default position was to "buy off the shelf", and that principally meant "buy American". The UK will regularly buy with or from the US because of its cutting edge technology and investment in very expensive systems. Murphy says his default position is "that for our core sovereign capabilities I want to make and buy British. Rather than buy from America, I want to learn from America."  (photo: Danny Lawson/PA)

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